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Film / Poetic Justice

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Poetic Justice is a 1993 romantic drama film written and directed by John Singleton, starring Janet Jackson as the titular Justice, Tupac Shakur as Lucky, and Regina King as Justice's best friend Iesha.

The movie focuses on Justice coping with her life after the loss of her boyfriend, played by Q-Tip. She learns to love herself again and opens up to a budding romance with an unlikely friend after embarking on a mini road trip.

Poetic Justice contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Iesha, to Justice's chagrin.
  • Cardiovascular Love: Heart Symbol style, in the movie poster, referencing how this is a romantic movie.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: As per usual in a John Singleton film, with this film containing 175 f-bombs. One notable instance is when Lucky and Justice get into an argument over the former calling the latter a bitch. She demands that he pull over, and when he does, the argument escalates into a "fuck you!" shouting match between each other.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Lucky and his friend J-Bone deliver one to Angel's john, set to intense music from Felix the Cat blaring from the TV.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Justice. Her friend even lampshades this.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Lucky.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Iesha.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Lucky's baby mother does crack and sleeps with another man with her kids in the next room. This causes Lucky to storm out of her apartment with his daughter, sick of her neglectful ways.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Absolutely inverted for sure, as the film uses nukes of swear words. However, the version made for television airings does a bit of re-dubbing and... the result definitely dips into this trope.
  • Groin Attack: Justice kicks Chicago in his groin when she intervenes the fight between him and Iesha.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Lucky's mother, who tells him to "Shut the fuck up and put the cigarette out", and then seconds later, chastises him for saying a curse word.
    • Iesha, who gets mad when Chicago says "Hey baby" to Justice, but flirts with another man at the cookout. She later reveals that she's been cheating on Chicago.
  • Epunymous Title: She's called Justice and she writes poetry.
  • Informed Flaw: Chicago has a hard time—staying hard.
  • Jerkass: Chicago. Whether it's hitting Iesha and then attempting to attack Justice when she intervenes or verbally attacking Justice for showing interest in Lucky. An inner monologue reveals he planned to cheat on Iesha.
    • Iesha, to a certain extent. She verbally abuses Chicago at one point and reveals that she's been cheating on him the whole time.
  • My Car Hates Me: Justice couldn't get her car to start, causing her to ride with Iesha, Chicago, and Lucky in the latter's mail truck.
  • The '90s: Box braids, dashikis, oversized bamboo earrings, and mom jeans? Yep, this movie is a product of the early '90s, all right.
  • Poetry: Justice recites poetry in a few voice-overs throughout the movie. They're all works by Maya Angelou.
  • Road Trip Plot: Both destroys and creates relationships.
    • The salon crew gets their own subplot in deleted scenes.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Justice and Lucky spend a lot of time getting on each other's bad sides before they eventually hook up.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: What starts Iesha and Chicago's argument. When they try to have sex in the delivery truck, he can't get it up.
  • Tranquil Fury: Chicago seems to ignore Iesha's insults about him (and his hair) being weak, but when she mentions that she's going to find someone with a better sex drive (or possibly a lack thereof because of supposed steroid usage), he stays silent for a while, then slowly walks up to her... and then punches her in the face.
  • Vertigo Effect: Happens to Iesha when Chicago punches her in the face.
    Iesha: MotherFUCKER! (goes to attack Chicago)
  • Would Hit a Girl: Chicago to Iesha and Justice.